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Australian Marine Sciences and Technologies Advisory Committee - Report - Year - 1983

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The Parliament o f the Commonwealth o f Australia


Annual Report


Presented 26 February 1985 Ordered to be printed 28 March 1985

Parliamentary Paper No. 93/1985


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Australian G overnm ent Publishing Service Canberra 1984

© Commonwealth of Australia 1984 ISSN 0811-6822

Printed by Canberra Publishing & Printing Co.

Australian Marine Sciences and Technologies Advisory Committee PO Box 65


The Honourable Barry 0 Jones MR Minister for Science ind Technology Parliament House :ANBERRA ACT 2600

)ear Minister

kMSTAC is pleased to present to you for transmission to Government its ;econd annual report, covering the period 1 January 1983 to 31 December 983. 'ours sincerely

M Swan ;hairman

or and on behalf of:

)r J T Baker QBE /lr B K Bowen /lr R J Smith lr D J Tranter

rofessor J S Turner ir J W Zillman




Overview 1 Major Issues in Australian Marine Science and Technology in 1983 Development of Indigenous Marine Technology 2 Coastal and Ocean Engineering 2

Marine Geoscience 3 Marine Research Funding 3 Data Collection 4 Oceanographic Research Vessel 5 Organisational Arrangements

Meetings and Seminars 6 Working Groups 7 AMSTAC Advice to Government 1983/84 Budget Advice 9

Marine Sciences and Technologies (MST) Grants Scheme — Research Priorities 9 Marine Technologies 9 Coastal and Ocean Engineering

Hydraulic Laboratory Facilities 10 Interim Steering Committee for CSIRO Oceanographic Research Vessel (ORV) 10 The Significance of the Southern Oscillation —

El Nino Phenomena 10 Appendixes 12



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This is AMSTAC's second annual report and covers the calendar year 1 January 1983 to 31 December 1983. During the year AMSTAC has submitted to the Government reports of two major investigations, on the benefits of increased Australian involvement in the marine technologies, and on the

need for improvement in Australia's hydraulic laboratory facilities. A report on the operation of the oceanographic research vessel (ORV) as a national research facility has been nearly completed and will be forwarded to the Government early next year.

AMSTAC has continued to provide the Government with advice on issues involving marine science and technology policy and to keep in touch with the marine science and technology community by holding business meetings and seminars interstate and attending workshops and conferences of relevance to marine science.

The past year has been fruitful for marine science and technology with the realisation of two long-held objectives, namely Government approval for the acquisition on charter of a marine geosciences vessel by the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics (BMR), and increased funding for the MST Grants Scheme at a level which will allow most of the worthwhile applications for marine research projects to be funded in 1984. AMSTAC is pleased with this progress, which indicates that the importance of marine science and technology to Australia's economic and social well-being is beginning to be recognised.

However, AMSTAC is concerned that the full benefits of the application of marine science and technology are still not being realised. This is mainly because, in the past, there has been insufficient attention paid to linking research to needs with an obvious tangible benefit to society. AMSTAC acknowledges the need to strike a balance between uncommitted and issue-oriented research, but considers that more attention could be paid to the application of marine science. There is, of course, great disparity between the size of the problem and the effort Australia can afford to mount, but we

must still try to make the best use of our resources. Consequently, AMSTAC is preparing a policy paper emphasising the importance of Australia's marine environment to the economy and to the quality of life in Australia. This paper will outline the essential MST activities which should be undertaken over the next 10 years to ensure that Australia does not neglect the significant opportunities provided by its marine environment. AMSTAC hopes to present this paper to the Government early

in 1984.



Development of Indigenous Marine Technology

1 AMSTAC had been concerned for some time at the small amount of attention being paid to the development of marine technologies in Australia and, at the request of the Minister for Science and Technology, undertook an investigation of these matters. A report was submitted to the Government containing a preliminary assessment of marine technologies having poten­ tial benefits for Australian industry in the short-to-medium term. This report

is reproduced in Appendix 5.

2 Australians have a demonstrated capacity for innovative ideas which have value in the market place. The winged keel, designed and developed for Australia II, which was so successful in the last America's Cup yacht racing series, is a good example. However, the major factor which made this

possible was the determined financial support given to the enterprise. Australia must be prepared to choose its endeavours carefully and back them well. Governments as well as private enterprise must be involved. It is only through Government support and assistance that the necessary infrastruc­ tures can be established whereby small-scale enterprises can grow to a size which will be viable on an international scale.

3 Most "marine" technologies are not unique to that field, but the harsh marine environment does pose unique problems which call for innovative solutions. Australian science is of high quality, but most of our technology comes from overseas. Australia should be encouraged to develop its own technologies in the marine field, particularly in those cases where the available equipment has been designed overseas for temperate water conditions and does not operate well in tropical conditions.

4 AMSTAC would like to see more attention paid to assisting the development of marine technologies and to the transfer of research results in this area from research institutions into industry.

Coastal and Ocean Engineering

5 AMSTAC has also been concerned about the relative neglect of this area of marine science and technology. It is crucial to a very wide range of marine activities, particularly shipping, coastal management and utilisation of offshore petroleum and mineral resources.

6 While coastal and ocean engineering is mostly a State Government or private enterprise responsibility, co-ordination and focus could be provided by the Australian Government. There is considerable potential for expanding


our knowledge and skill in this area provided our widely dispersed hydraulic facilities can be improved and made available to the engineering industry.

7 AMSTAC has endorsed the report of its Working Group on Coastal and Ocean Engineering which addressed the need to upgrade the hydraulic laboratory facilities in Australia. This report has been forwarded to Govern­ ment.

8 AMSTAC also notes that, although the priorities announced for the Marine Sciences and Technologies Grants Scheme clearly include research into coastal and ocean engineering, in the past only a small number of applications of high quality has been received for research in this area.

Marine Geosciences

9 Although there is no immediate shortage of oil, developments in the late 1970s showed the economic and strategic vulnerability of countries without indigenous oil. Security of supply is not the only benefit. Production of indigenous oil, indeed export of any surplus, is even now an important support to our balance of payments. Most of Australia's large prospective oil accumulations are likely to be offshore and there is a need for a concerted and continuing marine exploration program. AMSTAC was pleased to see recognition of the importance of marine geoscience by the creation of a Marine Geoscience and Petroleum Geology Division in the BMR.

10 Another development was the approval for the BMR to acquire on charter a geosciences vessel. It is essential that such a vessel be retained on a continuing basis. However, while exploration and development continues, AMSTAC would emphasise the importance of undertaking marine environ­

mental research at the same time as the proving of preliminary finds to ensure the safe design and construction of platforms, establishment of efficient transport systems and a basis for monitoring of environmental changes.

Marine Research Funding

11 The mechanisms for marine research funding which have been develop­ ed to date follow the usual pattern of a mixture of institutional support, grants to researchers, and fellowships. AMSTAC considers that a review is required of the extent to which this amalgam is meeting our needs.

12 AMSTAC's comments on some aspects of the support schemes are set out below.


13 Over the four years of its operation the emphasis of the MST Grants Scheme has moved away from critical geographic areas towards research of relevance to broad national requirements. In 1983/84 this scheme received a


major increase in funding which at last enabled the Queen's Fellowships and Marine Research Allocations Advisory Committee to fund the majority of worthwhile proposals. Although this increase in support was very welcome, AMSTAC believes this scheme must continue to expand as the marine sciences fulfil their promise in relation to the needs and aspirations of the Australian community.


14 AMSTAC was pleased to see the establishment of the National Research Fellowships Scheme, which should improve the research capacity in Australia by providing support for young researchers just commencing their careers. AMSTAC applauds the emphasis on the technologies and on industry-based research and considers that the nomination of marine research as a priority area would pay dividends in helping to establish major new marine industries.


15 This scheme has been operating successfully since 1970 and has provided opportunities for Australians to learn from the experience of senior overseas researchers and for talented young researchers from all parts of the world to enlarge their experience in full-time marine research in Australia. AMSTAC believes it is important that this innovative and flexible scheme should continue to operate in parallel with the newly introduced National Research Fellowships Scheme, which addresses a different target group at a lower level of remuneration.


16 AMSTAC was disappointed to see that no funds were made available in the 1983/84 Budget for Antarctic research. In AMSTAC's view it is essential that such funds be provided.

Data Collection

17 AMSTAC is concerned that basic oceanographic data are not yet being collected around Australia on a reliable and long-term basis. Such data are necessary for the efficient conduct of many marine activities, including design of marine structures, management of resources, prediction of climate and weather, defence and environmental planning. Responsibility for the collection and archiving of these data sets needs to be settled. There is a national need for data information of this kind and AMSTAC believes it is the responsibility of the Australian Government to ensure that adequate arrangements are made for its collection on a continuing basis. AMSTAC will be addressing this issue in the forthcoming year and, as well, the problem of ensuring that maximum value is obtained from any stored data.


The CSIRO Oceanographic Research Vessel under construction at the NQEA Shipyard, Cairns. Photo courtesy of CSIRO Division of Oceanography.

Oceanographic Research Vessel

18 AM STAC welcomes the acquisition of the oceanographic research vessel which is to be operated as a national facility by the CSIRO. This will be Australia's first purpose-built civilian ocean-going research vessel. How this national facility is managed and made available to the broad community of oceanographers will have an important influence on the provision of future Australian Government research vessels.



Meetings and Seminars

19 AMSTAC has adopted the practice of holding some of its business meetings in the States. This enables interaction with the marine sciences and technologies community through conferences and seminars held in conjunc­ tion with business meetings. Such visits also provide an opportunity for the Committee to learn at first hand about issues which may be relevant to its policy advice to the Government. A list of AMSTAC meeting dates and locations is reproduced in Appendix 10.


M arin e Research in Tasmania

20 In conjunction with its March business meeting in Hobart AMSTAC held a seminar to enable it to hear from local researchers about the current and future problems and needs in their areas of interest. Twelve speakers addressed the Committee on fisheries, biology, pollution control, Antarctic marine matters, marine resources policy and facilities for maritime training. A list of the speakers at this seminar and their topics is reproduced in Appendix 11. Visits to the Tioxide (Australia) plant in Burnie and the

Electrolytic Zinc plant at Risdon indicated that marine pollution from these sources was diminishing. Inspections of the Antarctic Division and the Australian Maritime College revealed the quality of staff and facilities at both these establishments. The Committee was impressed by the diversity of

marine science and technology facilities now located in Tasmania, making it a major marine centre.

Colloquium on the Significance o f the Southern Oscillation — Ei Nino Phenom ena and the N eed fo ra Comprehensive Ocean M onitoring System in Australasia

21 This colloquium was held in conjunction with AMSTAC's July business meeting in Canberra. It was felt that a point had been reached in understanding the phenomena where it seemed that bringing scientists together from different research areas might lead to new insights and new avenues of integrated research. The program included fourteen speakers, from around Australia and from overseas, drawn from the disciplines of

mathematics, oceanography, meteorology, biology and agricultural econo­ mics. A list of speakers and their topics is reproduced in Appendix 11.

Fisheries S em inar

22 In conjunction with its October business meeting AMSTAC was briefed by a panel of fisheries experts in the first of a series of industry-oriented seminars the Committee proposes to hold from time to time. This is part of a policy of keeping the Committee well informed on the different aspects of


marine science and technology in Australia. Seven speakers represented the fields of fisheries management, economics, catching technology, processing and mariculture. A list of the speakers and their topics is reproduced in Appendix 11.

23 As a result of this seminar AMSTAC wrote to the Minister for Science and Technology. This letter is reproduced in Appendix 7.


Australian Physical Oceanography Conference

24 This Conference was held in Adelaide in February 1983 and Professor Turner attended as AMSTAC's representative. It was noted that physical oceanography was beginning to attract scientists from neighbouring fields and that morale was high. AMSTAC hopes that attempts will be made to sustain this situation.

A M S A A n n u al General M eeting

25 The Chairman attended the annual general meeting of the Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA) which was held in Western Australia in association with the May 1983 ANZAAS Congress. He attended a meeting of the AMSA Council to discuss current issues in marine science. AMSTAC

hopes to continue this interaction on a regular basis.

Coastal an d Ocean Engineering Conference

26 This Conference was held in Surfers Paradise in July 1983 and Mr Smith attended as AMSTAC's representative. It was noted that this was a worthwhile, well-attended conference.

Great Barrier R eef Workshop

27 All AMSTAC members participated in this workshop held in Townsville in September 1983 following the Great Barrier Reef Conference. The workshop's purpose was to review the research reported at the conference held in the preceding week and to consider manpower, logistics and

mechanisms for facilitating the implementation of objectives identified at the conference.

28 AMSTAC found this a useful way of keeping up to date with the important issues in Barrier Reef research.

Working Groups

29 Some of the subjects AMSTAC is required to address call for specialist knowledge not necessarily comprehended by the members' expertise. Consequently, from time to time, the Committee establishes working groups of specialists which consider specific topics and report to AMSTAC on matters which might require Government action. To ensure close liaison with AMSTAC each group is convened by an AMSTAC member.


30 The terms of reference and membership of these groups are subject to ministerial approval. As far as is practicable, the terms of reference are set to address a discrete task and, for the most part, are such as to allow the group to report within six to twelve months. Groups automatically disband on

presentation of their reports to AMSTAC.

31 The terms of reference and membership of working groups meeting in 1983 are given in Appendix 12.


32 This working group addressed the issue of the adequacy of hydraulic laboratory facilities in Australia. Its report was submitted to AMSTAC in December 1983. AMSTAC endorsed the report and has transmitted it to Government. The major conclusion of this report was that there were serious inadequacies in the provision of hydraulic laboratory facilities in Australia which could be rectified most effectively by providing $2.1 million worth of

new and improved facilities in existing laboratories and by establishing an inter-laboratory co-operative mechanism to provide access to these facilities by a multiplicity of users. A summary of the report and its recommendations are reproduced in Appendix 6.


33 This working group is addressing itself to the need for satellite data reception facilities for marine research. Its investigations are still underway but are expected to be concluded during 1984.



1983/84 Budget Advice

34 Each year AMSTAC is informed by observer agencies of any new policy proposals involving marine science and technology which are being considered for inclusion in the next year's Budget. AMSTAC ranks these proposals in order of priority for marine science and technology.

35 AMSTAC's 1983/84 Budget advice emphasised improved funding for grants and fellowships and the importance of providing BMR with a geoscience research vessel on charter for three years. In the event both of these proposals were approved, although the charter of the geosciences

research vessel was for only two years initially. Disappointingly, AMSTAC's third priority, the provision of extra staff for the Australian Institute of Marine Science, was not funded.

36 AMSTAC's 1983/84 Budget advice is reprinted in Appendix 4. AMSTAC's 1984/85 Budget advice has been transmitted to Government but will remain confidential until after the Budget for that year has been announced.

Marine Sciences and Technologies (MST) Grants Scheme — Research Priorities

37 AMSTAC provides advice annually to the Minister for Science and Technology on the appropriate research priorities for the MST Grants Scheme. For 1983/84 the priority advice gave increased emphasis to research having relevance to specific national requirements. Of particular significance was the increased emphasis on coastal and ocean engineering and physical oceanography. AMSTAC's advice on research priorities is reprinted in Appendix 3.

38 Subsequent to this advice the Minister decided to continue to include specific mention of problem-oriented research and collaborative programs.

39 AMSTAC's advice on research priorities for 1985 was sent to the Minister for Science and Technology in December 1983, but is not reprinted in this report as the Minister's decision on priorities will not be available until after the reporting period.

Marine Technologies

40 In May 1983 the Minister for Science and Technology asked AMSTAC to provide the Government with a preliminary assessment of marine technolo­ gies which could contribute to the revitalisation of Australian industry or which could offer scope for the establishment of new technology-based


industries. AMSTAC consulted many people in industry, universities and government and submitted a report to the Minister in September 1983. Its main conclusion was that opportunities do exist in such areas as computer software for marine systems, marine instrumentation, corrosion prevention and possibly mariculture. This report is reprinted in Appendix 5.

Coastal and Ocean Engineering Hydraulic Laboratory Facilities

41 AMSTAC endorsed the report of its Working Group on Coastal and Ocean Engineering and submitted the report to Government in December 1983.

Interim Steering Committee for CSIRO Oceanographic Research Vessel (ORV)

42 AMSTAC is preparing a report to the Government on guidelines for the operation of the ORV as a national facility. However, this report will not be finalised during the reporting period. AMSTAC has given advice to the Minister for Science and Technology recommending the establishment of an interim Steering Committee to provide CSIRO with advice during the final construction phase and planning of the initial cruises and to oversee the operation of the vessel pending consideration of the completed AMSTAC report. This advice is reproduced in Appendix 9.

The Significance of the Southern Oscillation — El Nino Phenomena

43 AMSTAC held a colloquium in July 1983 on the significance of the Southern Oscillation — El Nino phenomena and the need for a comprehen­ sive ocean-monitoring system in Australasia. As a result of this meeting AMSTAC advised the Minister for Science and Technology of the form any Australian involvement should take. This advice is reproduced in Appendix 8.



1. AMSTAC Terms of Reference 12 2. Membership of AMSTAC and its Secretariat and List of Commonwealth Agencies with Observer Status 13 3. AMSTAC Recommendations on Priorities for Marine Sciences

and Technologies Grants for 1983/84 15 4. AMSTAC Priorities for the 1983/84 Budget — Recommendations to the Government through the Minister for Science and Technology 17 5. AMSTAC Report to the Minister for Science and Technology on

the Benefits of Increased Australian Involvement in the Marine Technologies 25 6. Summary and Recommendations of AMSTAC Working Group Report on National Needs and Priorities for Coastal and Ocean

Engineering Hydraulic Laboratory Facilities 44 7. AMSTAC Advice to the Government on Important Issues in Fisheries Research 48 8. AMSTAC Advice to the Government on Involvement in Ocean

Monitoring 50 9. AMSTAC Advice to the Government on Establishment of an Interim Steering Committee for the Oceanographic Research Vessel 52 10. AMSTAC Meeting Dates and Locations 54 11. Speakers at AMSTAC Seminars 55 12. AMSTAC Working Groups — Membership and Terms of

Reference 58



'To advise the Government, through the Minister for Science and Technology, on all aspects of marine sciences and technologies, including the provision of an effective, balanced and co-ordinated program of research and development.'

In addressing these terms of reference AMSTAC should regard its major responsibilities as being to: (i) define the main elements of a marine sciences and technologies program that will contribute to Australia's economic growth and

social well-being; (ii) review and assess existing and proposed areas of activity taking account of national needs, international obligations, current Government policies and economic circumstances; (iii) identify priority areas for research, development and demon­


(iv) consider the needs and priorities for support facilities and training programs, grants and fellowships; (v) examine the financing of recommended programs and associated support facilities; and (vi) propose organisational arrangements appropriate to an evolving

and expanding program of marine research, development and demonstration in Australia. AMSTAC should, in discharging its responsibilities, continue to give careful attention to developing ongoing liaison arrangements with appropriate operational and advisory bodies.

November 1981




Members of AMSTAC

• Professor J M Swan, FAA (Chairman) Dean, Faculty of Science, Monash University • Dr J T Baker, OBE Director, Sir George Fisher Centre for Tropical Marine Studies, James Cook

University of North Queensland • Mr B K Bowen, FTS Director, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Western Australia • Mr R J Foster

Marketing Manager, BMP Petroleum • Mr R J Smith Director, Hardcastle and Richards Pty Ltd, Consulting Engineers • Dr D J Tranter

Division of Fisheries Research, CSIRO • Professor J S Turner, FRS, FAA Professor of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University

AMSTAC MEMBERS AND SECRETARIAT From left to right: Russell Smith, Peter Dawe (ASTEC Secretariat), Bob Foster, Stewart Turner, John Zillman, John Swan, Joe Baker, David Tranter, Annette Quinn (AMSTAC Secretariat) and Bernard Bowen. Photo courtesy of Joe Baker.


Dr J W Zillman, FTS Director of Meteorology, Bureau of Meteorology, Department of Science and Technology


In the period of this report the membership has been as follows: Mr D G Keeley (Secretary) Mr C N Ansted Ms A G Quinn

Observing Agencies

Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) Australian Science and Technology Council (ASTEC) Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics (BMR) CSIRO Institute of Animal and Food Sciences CSIRO Institute of Physical Sciences Defence Science and Technology Organisation Department of Housing and Construction Department of Defence Department of Home Affairs and Environment Department of Primary Industry Department of Resources and Energy Department of Science and Technology Department of Transport




Letter to Minister for Science and Technology— 13 December 1982

During the recent AMSTAC meeting in Adelaide Professor Stark, Chairman of the Queen's Fellowships and Marine Research Allocations Advisory Commit­ tee (QFMRAAC), joined my Committee to discuss the priorities that should be used in allocating Marine Sciences and Technologies Grants Scheme funds

in 1983/84. Last year a statement incorporating these priorities accompanied notices and application forms for the scheme. We hope this arrangement can be continued in the coming year. The Committee and Professor Stark agreed that the thrust of funding

policy should remain the same as for last year, except that more emphasis should be given to research which had a high national priority. It was also agreed that some context should be provided for the statement of priorities by incorporating into the preamble the objectives agreed for the scheme last year.

AMSTAC has subsequently prepared its recommendation to you in the form of the attached draft statement.

Yours sincerely

J M Swan Chairman

D raft S tatem ent

Marine Sciences & Technologies (MST) Grants 1983/84

Applications are invited from individuals or research teams for grants in support of research projects in Marine Science and Technology. The funds are allocated by the Minister for Science and Technology on the advice of the Queen's Fellowships and Marine Research Allocations Advisory Committee (QFMRAAC).

The Grants Scheme is intended to allow for the support of three major types of marine research activity: — high quality research which is also assessed to be of high priority in the national interest and which would not otherwise be carried out;


— research proposals likely to produce results of significance in the short to medium term for more effective management of the marine environment; and — research activities which will stimulate education and training in the

marine sciences and technologies. Following consideration of the advice of the Australian Marine Sciences and Technologies Advisory Committee (AMSTAC) the Minister has directed that QFMRAAC give priority in its recommendations to proposals which are likely to:

• assist effective management of the marine environment, including fisheries resources management, management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and safe construction and operation of oil and gas platforms in Bass Strait, the North-West Shelf, or elsewhere; • assist conservation of the marine environment and avoidance of marine

pollution, particularly in the containment or safe dispersal of oil discharges in sensitive or exploration areas such as the Great Barrier Reef region and Bass Strait respectively; • contribute to the strengthening of Australia's capability in marine

taxonomy; • increase knowledge of the geological constitution and resource poten­ tial of areas off-shore to Australia; • increase research and development in the fields of coastal and ocean

engineering and physical oceanography; • improve the marine applications of remote sensing, particularly satellite imagery; and • within the context of the above priorities, advance our understanding of

fundamental marine processes and systems.




1 On several occasions over the last few years the Government has indicated its support for developing a viable marine sciences and technolo­ gies program. Marine science is expensive and it will take some years to build up an appropriate infrastructure to support the necessary research and development; because of budgetary restraints progress has been slower than might have been wished.

2 The marine sciences and technologies are still at a relatively early stage of development. While AMSTAC is aware of the current economic difficulties, the Committee believes it is important that the momentum of funding for the marine sciences and technologies be maintained until a sound infrastructure

has been installed. A balanced program of development is vital; professional scientists, engineers and technologists must be recruited, trained and provided with research and development opportunities on a reasonably long and assured time frame if the ultimate benefits are to be achieved.

Grants and Fellowships

3 AMSTAC recommends: (i) that $3,865 million be provided for allocation in 1983/84 by the Minister for Science and Technology, on the advice of the Queen's Fellowships and Marine Research Allocations Advisory Committee, for the support

of research, development and training in the marine sciences and technologies, and the award of Queen's Fellowships in Marine Science; (ii) that $3.45 million of this be used for the MST Grants Scheme, and $350 000 for Fellowships; (iii) that there be established a new category of fellowship between Junior

and Senior Queen's Fellowships, and called simply a Queen's Fellow­ ship.

4 Research grants and Queen's Fellowships are essential to the develop­ ment of a sound base of trained manpower as well as to the stimulation of scientific opportunities and the acquisition of a more adequate knowledge of the Australian marine environment. Such knowledge has particular rele­ vance for management of resources, both living and non-living, and as a

base for new discoveries. It is extremely important that both grants and fellowships be maintained at a viable level.


5 In 1982/83 there were 195 applications for grants. Of these, the 91 most highly rated projects were funded, although many at a lower level than would seem desirable to achieve the optimum balance between cost and productivity. Only $2.2 million could be allocated, whereas the 91 projects requested a total of $3.88 million. Optimum funding of these proposals would have cost $2.75 million. A further 15 highly-rated projects would have been funded if an extra $0.6 million had been available.

6 Queen's Fellowships are a most cost-effective and practical means for increasing expertise in the marine sciences and technologies. AMSTAC considers that the current number of junior and senior fellowships (five) should be maintained. In addition, AMSTAC proposes that an intermediate level of fellowships be provided to support those researchers who are at the peak of their productivity. The Junior Fellowships are awarded to recent post-doctoral researchers. Senior Fellowships are usually awarded to eminent scientists from overseas to enable the local marine community to obtain the benefit of their considerable knowledge and long experience. There is currently no specific provision for scientists and engineers who are

in the middle of their careers and at the height of their scientific productivity, who could visit Australia to lecture and take part in ongoing research. To achieve this desirable aim, provision would need to be made for $60 000 more than is being spent in 1982/83. This would allow for three Junior Fellows, three Fellows and two Senior Fellows.

7 Accordingly, AMSTAC's recommendation is based on the 1982/83 funding level brought up to the optimum funding level, plus $0.6 million to cover the highly rated projects which were not able to be supported at all. A further $100 000 has been added to allow for the funding of proposals for co-operative research associated with the 1984 CSIRO Bass Strait oceano­ graphic survey that AMSTAC understands is being proposed by the Division of Oceanography. AMSTAC believes that a comprehensive and intensive oceanographic survey of Bass Strait, which could also involve biologists and geoscientists as well as chemical and physical oceanographers, would be valuable, and notes that CSIRO has recognised the importance of fully

integrating this program with the work of existing researchers and co­ ordinating agencies in the region. AMSTAC has consistently stressed the need for regional co-operation in marine research in order to minimise costs and maximise opportunities.

8 AMSTAC understands that the administrative cost of maintaining a grants and fellowships program of this size is estimated at $65 000. The total provision for grants and fellowships would therefore need to be $3,865 million.


9 AMSTAC recommends: (iv) that provision be made in the 1983/84 budget allocations for the chartering of a suitably equipped and staffed vessel for ocean


geoscience, to be operated as a national facility by the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics (BMR), and that a commitment be made to the acquisition by 1987/88 of a dedicated geoscience vessel, or failing this, a combined Antarctic research/ geosciences research vessel; (v) that a major new geoscientific study of the Australian and Antarctic

continental margins be undertaken over the next five years using the chartered vessel and thereafter using Australia's own research vessel.

10 It is vital that Australia secure its energy independence through maintenance of a substantial measure of self-sufficiency in liquid fuel supplies and through replacement of the country's gas reserves as these are depleted. There is a need to maintain the oil industry's awareness of the prospectivity of Australian offshore areas and to provide industry with a geological framework within which it can focus its exploration activity. This is best achieved by maintaining a basic research and assessment program relating to our offshore resources. The availability, on a continuing basis, of an ocean geoscience vessel is an essential ingredient of such a program.

11 Ideally, this vessel should be specifically designed for and fully dedicated to marine geoscience work. However, AMSTAC is aware of the likely acquisition of an Antarctic research ship which could be made available for geosciences research off the Australian mainland for up to 180 days each year. If this research vessel is acquired, and if funds for a separate geosciences vessel are not available, then an acceptable alternative would be for Australia to have a joint Antarctic/geosciences research vessel. If the Antarctic vessel is primarily a transport vessel this would not be a workable solution. In the short term the chartering of a vessel can meet Australia's

needs, but in the long term Australia needs to acquire a vessel of her own, especially one specifically designed to meet the needs of ocean geoscience and research in areas subject to the hazards of pack ice. The BMR should be the host institution for this national facility if a geosciences vessel is chosen.

If a joint Antarctic/geosciences vessel is acquired, then the Antarctic Division of the Department of Science and Technology should be the primary host institution in association with the BMR.

12 To make effective use of this vessel, funds will need to be provided to the BMR and to research geoscientists throughout Australia, for programs of research on the continental margins. AMSTAC supports BMR's proposal for such work, which is clearly aimed at increasing our knowledge of the geology of the continental margins of both Australia and Antarctica as a basis for petroleum exploration and resource assessment.

13 A further component of the proposal is the establishment of a marine geoscience data base, and this is linked to the AMSTAC initiative of producing inventories of marine data whereby BMR has been nominated a lead agency for marine geosciences (see 21-23 below).


Australian Institute of Marine Science

14 AMSTAC recommends: (vi) that a start be made in the 1983/84 Budget on implementation of AMSTAC's recommendations to the Minister for Science and Tech­ nology, in its "Review of the Development and Staffing of the

Australian Institute of Marine Science", on staff increases which were recommended to be spread over the three financial years, 1983/84 to 1985/86.

15 The Committee has already reported to the Minister for Science and Technology on its review of the development and staffing of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). AIMS is now capable of making a major contribution to marine research and is making commendable progress in its development as a centre of excellence in tropical water marine science, although its further progress is significantly hampered by the present staff ceiling of 104.

International Marine Sciences and Technologies Programs

16 AMSTAC recomends: (vii) that funds be provided to the Department of Science and Technology to enable it to co-ordinate the development and extension of Australia's participation in the Intergovernmental Oceanographic

Commission's (IOC) WESTPAC program; and (viii) that the CSIRO Division of Oceanography be provided with the resources to undertake its proposed study of the relationship between tidal-filtered sea surface levels and the annual variability of climate

both globally and locally.

17 The Department of Science and Technology is co-ordinating Australian participation in the IOC's WESTPAC program and is seeking funds to facilitate development of the associated program of Australian research activities. AMSTAC believes that, apart from the contribution that this program can make to the needs of other countries in the western Pacific region, it also has considerable implications for the development of marine sciences and technologies within Australia.

18 This will be so particularly if the CSIRO Division of Oceanography is able to obtain the funds for its proposed study of the impact on sea surface temperature and climate of non-tidal changes in sea surface levels in the waters north of Australia. This research on the "Southern Oscillation" could make an important contribution to our understanding of climate and especially the annual prediction of monsoons, linked in turn to matters such as fish abundance. As such, it is of considerable significance to Australia and to other countries in our region.


Marine Taxonomy

19 AMSTAC recommends: (ix) that, in line with past AMSTAC recommendations, provision be made in the 1983/84 Budget allocations for a substantial increase in funding for marine taxonomic research through the Australian Biological Re­

sources Study by whatever mechanisms the ABRS Advisory Committee thinks most appropriate.

20 Marine taxonomy is basic to all marine biological investigations and has important implications for all other marine fields, including the applied sciences and resources development. Australian expertise and manpower in marine taxonomy is considered inadequate to meet existing needs. Last year AMSTAC recommended an increase in the staffing of the Bureau of Flora and

Fauna to correct this situation. However, it has been suggested to AMSTAC that other mechanisms, such as the provision of earmarked funds within the ABRS Participatory Program, might be more appropriate.

Data Management

21 AMSTAC recommends: (x) that, where necessary, resources be made available in the 1983/84 budgetary allocations for Commonwealth Government departments and agencies to compile inventories of their existing marine data


22 AMSTAC considers there is a great need to improve awareness of, and access to, existing marine science and technology data in Australia. As a first step towards more efficient data management the Committee has asked the following Commonwealth Government departments and agencies to under­ take preparation of inventories of their data holdings of the marine data types

indicated, and ultimately to include reference to non-Commonwealth Government data holdings in the inventories:

Lead Agency Data Type

Australian National Parks and Nature Conservation

Wildlife Service

Home Affairs and Environment

Bureau of Meteorology, Department of Science and Technology

Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics, Department of National Development and Energy

CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research

Department of Primary Industry

Department of Transport and Construction


Meteorology, Satellite Imagery, Waves


Fisheries Ecology

Commercial Fisheries

Coastal Engineering


Division of National Mapping, Department of National Development and Energy, or the RAN Hydrographer

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Permanent Committee on Tides and Mean Sea Level of the National Mapping Council

RAN Hydrographer, Department of Defence Hydrography, Oceanography


Bathymetry and Bottom Topography

Great Barrier Reef

23 In addition, AMSTAC has asked the Department of Science and Technology to publish a directory of these inventories which will be made widely available within the marine community. The resources that individual agencies will require to prepare these inventories are generally not so large as to justify submission of new policy proposals, and agencies may seek to make provision for them within their ongoing programs. Nevertheless, AMSTAC believes that, collectively, this is an important initiative and urges the Government to ensure that agencies can devote the necessary resources to this task. The Committee understands that the Department of Transport and Construction and the CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, in particular, may be having difficulty in providing the resources within their budgetary allocations and urges the Government to ensure that the quite modest resources required can be found.

ARPAC Research Fund

24 AMSTAC recommends: (xi) that, in conjunction with proposals for long-term support, funds be provided for the establishment of a supplementary Antarctic Research Fund, with $200 000 in 1983/84, to be administered by the Department

of Science and Technology on the advice of ARPAC.

25 It is understood that the Department of Science and Technology, with the support of ARPAC, is proposing the establishment of the above fund to supplement other proposals for long-term support of Australia's Antarctic Program. Antarctic research is not directly within AMSTAC's sphere of responsibility, but the skills and understandings developed by Australian marine scientists working in Antarctic waters do contribute to Australia's total marine research capability and the knowledge gained can have

implications for marine research closer to Australia. The Committee therefore believes the proposed fund would have a beneficial effect on Australian marine science and technology to the extent that the funds are expended on marine research.


Advanced Ocean Drilling Program

26 AMSTAC recommends: (xii) that, within a new budgetary initiative involving funds additional to those for the above proposals and for on-going marine science and technology programs, $250 000 be allocated in 1983/84 for the

Australian Government to become a Candidate member in the AODP; (xiii) that, given the need for geosciences expertise in liaison with the National Science Foundation AODP managers, the BMR should be nominated as the Australian lead agency; and (xiv) that Australian participation in the AODP be determined by the

Government on the basis of advice from a committee of three, representing the interests of the Minister for Science and Technology, the Minister for National Development and Energy and the Consor­ tium of Ocean Geosciences of Australian Universities (COGS).

27 AMSTAC has already reported to the Minister for Science and Tech­ nology on this program. The Committee considers this is an excellent program of the highest scientific merit and notes the BMR view that Australian participation in the AODP would interact synergistically with the

BMR's investigation of the Australian continental margin. The Committee also draws attention to the significant contribution that AODP is making to terrestrial geoscience: the AODP is much more than a marine sciences

program. As emphasised in the AMSTAC report to the Minister for Science and Technology, there is also a need for Australia to become a Candidate member of the program as soon as possible if this country is to have any influence on the location of future drilling sites. However, in relation to national needs in marine science and technology, AMSTAC does not consider it to have a higher priority than either the various new initiatives

mentioned above or the other major marine science and technology programs currently being pursued by Commonwealth Government agen­ cies. This is so because both the comparatively low level of marine science and technology activity in Australia and the high cost of full participation in the AODP would lead to an unacceptable distortion of the Australian marine science and technology effort, if participation in the AODP were to be funded at the expense of other existing or planned marine science and technology activities.

Large Equipment and Facilities Fund

28 AMSTAC recommends: (xv) that provision be made for the establishment of a fund of several million dollars that would enable research institutions to apply for funds for large equipment and facilities where such funds are not

available from other sources.

29 AMSTAC understands that the Department of Science and Technology is considering the establishment of this fund to take the place of the existing


LEAF scheme. It is appreciated that the fund is envisaged as catering for all science and technology needs and that marine science and technology proposals may well be only a small proportion of all applications. This accounts for the lower priority AMSTAC has accorded it relative to the other proposals. Nevertheless, AMSTAC is aware of several areas of marine science and technology which are being inhibited by the lack of major equipment and facilities that are too expensive to be provided under the grants schemes and perhaps not large enough to be proposed as national facilities. It therefore believes that the proposed fund could serve a very

useful function in assisting the development of marine sciences and technologies in Australia.






INCREASED AUSTRALIAN INVOLVEMENT 4.1 Computer Software for Marine Applications 4.6 Marine Instrumentation 4.11 Maintenance of Coastal and Offshore Structures

and Equipment 4.19 Mariculture 4.22 Overseas Consultancy Work 5 MECHANISMS

5.4 Industry Concerns EXISTING MECHANISMS 5.8 Marine Science and Technology Grants Scheme 5.9 Australian Industrial Research and

Development Incentives Scheme 5.10 Taxation and Tariff Policies 5.11 Australian Offsets Policy 5.12 Export Incentives 5.13 Defence/Industry Transfer of Technology

NEW MECHANISMS 5.15 Espie Report Recommendations 5.16 Industry/Research Co-ordination 5.19 Packaging and Marketing Assistance 5.20 Publicity 6 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Appendix A Technologies Relevant to Maritime Activities


1 Introduction

1.1 On 19 April 1983 the Minister for Science and Technology asked AMSTAC to provide a preliminary assessment of whether there were initiatives in the marine technologies which could contribute to the revitalisation of Australian industry or which offered scope for the establish­ ment of new technology-based industries. The Minister asked for AMSTAC's advice by early September so that it could be taken into account in the development of the 1984/85 Budget. Specifically, the Minister invited AMSTAC to prepare advice which included:

(i) a synopsis of marine technologies which are, or could be, of interest to Australia with an indication of the extent to which Australian capability is being utilised in meeting present needs, (ii) a preliminary assessment of those technologies currently imported but

which could derive from scientific expertise already possessed by Australia, (iii) advice on mechanisms (including the role of the Marine Sciences and Technologies Grants Scheme) which could be used to encourage

development of those technologies identified in (ii) above.

1.2 AMSTAC subsequently called a meeting of all Commonwealth agen­ cies with marine responsibilities and asked for their assistance. This led to the development of a list of technologies applicable to the marine environment as given at Appendix A.

1.3 Approximately 50 groups and individuals from private companies, tertiary education institutions, and State and Commonwealth government departments with an interest in these areas were interviewed to obtain a preliminary assessment of the potential for development and the barriers which might exist to any further Australian involvement in the maritime

industries. Two thirds of those contacted were in the private enterprise sector.

1.4 The maritime industries are quite varied and, because of the size and complexity of the whole field of marine technologies, the Committee considered that it should concentrate on those areas appearing at the present time to show promise in the short-to-medium-term. It identified five such areas. These were:

(a) computer software for marine applications, (b) marine instrumentation (especially acoustic devices), (c) maintenance of coastal and offshore structures and equipment, (d) mariculture (the husbandry of marine animals and plants), and (e) overseas consultancy work for Australian engineering firms in coastal

and ocean engineering projects.

These are discussed individually later in this report.


2 Marine Technologies of Importance to Australia

2.1 The important maritime industries in Australia at present are fisheries, oil and gas exploration and production, shipping, defence supply, coastal and ocean engineering and recreational and leisure products. These industries have diverse requirements and cover a wide range of technolo­ gies.

2.2 In the future Australia may seek greater involvement in mariculture, the production of biochemicals from marine organisms (such as unicellular algae), and the introduction of genetic engineering into mariculture in general. Some attention is already being paid to these matters.

3 Marine Technologies Currently Imported

3.1 AMSTAC, with the assistance of its observing agencies, attempted to identify, from the list at Appendix A, those technologies which are largely imported at present. Insufficient information was available for a meaningful assessment at this stage. For this reason AMSTAC decided to concentrate on a review of those technologies in which Australia already has considerable expertise. However, AMSTAC considers that an identification of the major gaps in our technological capabilities in the marine area should be undertaken and, with the support of observing agencies, will pursue this objective in the future.

4 Marine Technologies w ith Potential for Increased Australian Involvement


4.1 One of the most promising areas identified by AMSTAC was in computer software for marine systems. Australians already have a good reputation overseas for computer software design and there is innovative

work being done in the marine area by several Australian companies. There is a growing need for signal interpretation, data processing, control systems, and systems simulation for training purposes, and there is also a developing local and overseas market for basic computer software packages which can, for example, model water flovys in different physical environments or assist

in the gathering, storage and processing of oceanographic data.

4.2 Particular problems for smaller firms in this area seem to be the lack of venture capital in the development stages and an initial lack of credibility with large clients. Mechanisms for supplying venture capital and for encouraging the use of Australian companies for software development are

likely to be necessary.

4.3 One method already employed by government for helping companies to establish a reputation is to give preference to Australian firms for


government contracts. Although applying preference margins may be appropriate when purchasing equipment, this is not necessarily the answer for computer software. Large companies and government authorities (particularly those operating on a commercial basis) are interested in

purchasing proven systems, whereas what is often required to assist Australian firms is the letting of contracts for the development of systems. In at least one case known to AMSTAC (the Woodside NW Shelf gas pipeline) this latter approach was taken. Both the plough for burying the pipeline, and the software for positioning the plough on the pipeline, involved technologi­ cal innovations of world significance and were developed in Australia. The

result was that the Australian survey company that developed the software has now formed its own marketing company, which is selling a range of software products successfully overseas.

4.4 An alternative to this approach is to follow the Japanese example and to buy the best available packages from overseas on licence and develop them further in Australia. There can still be considerable financial risk involved in this, because licensing costs are high and companies can be involved in difficult and costly negotiations if future developments are not to be tied back to the original package. The method has been used successfully by one Commonwealth Government department which contracted work to private consultants, who obtained the licences and took the risk of obtaining other similar work to justify the expenditure.

4.5 It would seem likely that much computer software with marine applications will be developed in-house by companies involved in particular marine activities, such as hydrographic surveying or port operation. However, not a large amount of work has been done on computer software for the marine area and it should certainly be feasible for computer software firms not at present involved in marine activities to expand into this field.


4.6 Scientific instrumentation was one of the 'sunrise' industries identified in the Government's election policy statement. AMSTAC has found that marine instrumentation, which is a component of this industry, is an area which does show major potential for development. This is especially so in the case of instruments designed for use in tropical waters, where imported

instruments often prove to be unsatisfactory, because two thirds of Australia's continental shelf lies in the tropics. There is also a growing need, both in Australia and overseas, for specific instruments designed to measure water quality parameters.

4.7 Scientific instruments need to be designed for the marine environ­ ment. In particular, they require waterproof casings, reasonable portability and a means of accessing the data which, preferably, does not require the removal of the instrument from its casing. These particular design require­ ments mean that companies may be inclined either to keep out of the area altogether or to specialise. Companies which are involved in the manufacture of land-based instruments and which expand into marine applications


The "Morning Glory" phenomenon photographed from the 'Soela'in November 1983 on the North West Shelf. Photographer: Graham Leech.

generally find they have to establish a separate division to do this kind of work. The marine scientific instruments industry therefore needs to be regarded largely as a separate industry with particular problems of its own. Its successful operation depends on learning to apply known principles to an adverse environment.

4.8 AMSTAC's investigations reveal that several Australian companies involved in this work are able to produce instruments that compete successfully with overseas manufactured products. A small Sydney-based electronics firm, which manufactures salinometers, oxygen meters etc., sells 90% of its products to Japan. A Melbourne-based firm has developed some

instruments which it can sell more cheaply in Europe than European manufacturers can, although for most of its products it relies on a quality advantage rather than a price advantage. A small Tasmanian-based firm manufactures the marine radio and TV antennae used by nearly all Australian vessels and is able to sell radio-tracked buoys for significantly less than the

imported Japanese product by using the most up-to-date technology.

4.9 There is also significant expertise available in Australia in the acoustic instruments area, but this is mainly confined to the defence research agencies and the associated defence industries. AMSTAC believes that wide-ranging commercial developments could arise from marine acoustic work undertaken in the defence area, especially in the design of seismic arrays used for oil and gas exploration. There is growing interest from tertiary institutions, research laboratories and other parts of industry in


applying our knowledge of marine acoustics to the design of specialised scientific instruments. Side-scan sonar systems and acoustic release devices are two examples. AMSTAC considers that additional mechanisms for bringing the various parties together are now required and, as a start, will be encouraging interested organisations to convene a major workshop in 1984 on 'Applications of Marine Acoustics'. AMSTAC also understands that as a result of its current review of marine technologies the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics (BMR) is holding discussions with the Defence Department with a view to doing sea-going trials of a prototype seismic array using new hydrophone technology resulting from defence research. Comparative data using existing commercial equipment could then be made available to potential manufacturers. AMSTAC believes that there may be other cases where a government agency with relevant expertise could be encouraged to carry out trials of prototype devices in order to help bridge the gap between invention and innovation on the one hand and marketing and manufacture on the other.

4.10 The major problems in development of the marine scientific instru­ mentation industry seem to be:

• the relatively small market in Australia and therefore the need for any local manufacturer to have knowledge of the world market • a general lack of information on where the needs are located • a lack of awareness in industry about relevant discoveries, inventions

and innovations arising in government research laboratories and universities (where most of the research is done in Australia) and • the difficulty of obtaining venture capital for 'unproven' inventions.

These problems are discussed further in Section 5 below.


4.11 AMSTAC was made aware of the extremely high costs resulting from corrosion and biological fouling of marine structures in Australia and the fact that most of the structures in the coastal area are government owned (piers, breakwaters, harbour facilities etc.). It was suggested that research in this area could save large sums on maintenance of marine structures and could produce new or improved technologies which would be highly marketable overseas.

4.12 Deterioration of concrete structures is a major problem and there are widely divergent views about the solutions to it. AMSTAC understands that for steel structures the current systems of cathodic protection are effective below the waterline and that the major problem occurs in the intertidal or splash zone where paint or coatings of some kind are the only method of

protection. Non-corrosive materials such as stainless steel are an alternative for major works such as lighthouses and are relatively maintenance-free. However, the extremely high cost of such materials means that their use is not always economic.


4.13 Australia is competent in the paint industry, although much of the technology is available only on licence from overseas companies. Most of the coatings used are much the same as those used 15 years ago and there could be scope for new developments here, although consideration needs to

be given to the time lag involved in proving new materials. The proving of a new coating takes at least five years and there are recent claims of new overseas developments which could be proven by the time any significant Australian research was undertaken.

4.14 However, there should be no difficulty in Australia increasing its involvement in this kind of research. Australia has some good researchers in the field, although the fact that a significant number are in government laboratories rather than in industry could be a disadvantage. To give an example of a familiar problem, AMSTAC understands that one of the major developments in paint technology during the last 20 years occurred at the

Defence Department's Materials Research Laboratory but, because it was not patented, this technology now has to be licensed from the United States of America for Australian use.

4.15 Less attention is being paid to paint research now than in the past. The research done in industry tends to be largely short-term, involving adapt­ ation of overseas products to suit Australian raw materials and environment. In government establishments there has been a decrease in staffing levels.

For example, there were 36 people employed on paint at the Materials Research Laboratory 10 years ago and now there are 10.

4.16 A large part of the maintenance cost in painting marine structures is in the application. Much research has been done on application techniques over the last few years, but AMSTAC believes that further research is needed. Anything which can lead to better surface preparation or better application of the coating will be worth the cost, because even the best coatings will not last

if they are improperly applied. Research could usefully be done on improved techniques for mixing ingredients at the spray head. However, the equip­ ment required is expensive and applications companies will not invest in these systems unless contracts of significant size are likely to be available.

4.17 Investment in research in the corrosion and biological fouling areas would probably save a substantial annual sum in maintenance of deteriorat­ ing structures, but it would be unlikely to increase the industry base in Australia significantly. New technology would most likely be licensed for

overseas use rather than involve increased production in Australia for the overseas market. Nevertheless, AMSTAC considers that the likelihood of considerable savings in maintenance and replacement costs warrants increased research in this area, especially in relation to the protection of

structures and equipment deployed in tropical waters.

4.18 On the seismic equipment side AMSTAC has discovered that most imported equipment supplied by Australian distributors is also serviced in Australia. However, when sections of large seismic towed arrays are badly damaged they are discarded and replacement sections are air-freighted from overseas. The maintenance work involved with these large arrays would be


worth several million dollars annually. However, the facilities required to repair and maintain these sections are very specialised and unless con­ tinuous work is available the establishment of a repair facility is probably not economically feasible. There are companies in Australia with the expertise to establish such a facility and provide this kind of service and, particularly if there should be an increase in oil and gas exploration, these companies should be encouraged to expand into this area.


4.19 With shrinking tonnages from many of the world's fisheries and the growing world demand for fish products, one obvious way to turn is to controlled production. Projections by the United Nations Food and Agricul­ ture Organization to the end of the century are for a tenfold growth in world aquaculture production. Throughout the world a significant amount of aquaculture is currently being done in the sea (mariculture) or in saltwater lakes (mainly micro-algal culture). Australia has some expertise in the mariculture of oysters, pearl oysters, mussels and abalone and work is being done on prawns, flatfish and barramundi. There is also a pilot plant in Western Australia for producing the food additive beta-carotene from a unicellular alga (dunaliella). The group concerned is developing techniques that may be transferable to other micro-algal culture projects.

4.20 However, whilst the culture of bivalve molluscs has been undertaken for many years, commercial mariculture of other organisms is in its infancy in Australia and economic production is possibly five years away. There is also considerable competition on the world market in this area from several Asian countries. It may be unrealistic for Australia to attempt to compete on the world market generally as mariculture can be economically undertaken on a 'high labour — low technology' basis in cheap labour areas. The best approach might be to plan an industry designed to satisfy domestic demand initially, with a view to expansion into specialist, high quality areas of the overseas market at a later date.

4.21 AMSTAC believes that the production and marketing prospects of mariculture for Australia should be investigated, and an assessment should be made of potential culture sites and the species most suitable to them. The Department of Primary Industry could consider this. AMSTAC hopes that the current transfer to industry of cultivation techniques being carried out in State government research facilities will continue to receive support.


4.22 It was suggested to AMSTAC that one way of encouraging the overseas use of Australian marine equipment and products was through the involvement of Australian consultants in overseas projects. Client countries are often inclined to continue to use products introduced by the consultant during engineering projects. AMSTAC also learned that a significant amount of coastal and ocean engineering work is planned for the south-east Asian region over the next few years, and was told by some that Australian


consultancy groups might have a better chance of securing some of this work if they were to operate under the aegis of an umbrella organisation. The suggestion was that this body might initially tender for a project and then sub-contract parts of the project to other engineering groups in Australia. Also needed was a body to create an integrated network of marine

laboratories around Australia by co-ordinating the development and use of marine hydraulic facilities. AMSTAC's Working Group on Coastal and Ocean Engineering is already investigating this latter question and a report is expected shortly. It may be possible, in due course, to combine these two operations, but for the time being they will be considered as separate issues. An important point applying to both issues is that any arrangement to

improve Australian competitiveness in the Asian engineering market should be available to all Australian engineers. The Departments of Housing and Construction and Science and Technology could consider the feasibility of these two suggestions.

4.23 AMSTAC found that some smaller and more specialised firms were interested in both concepts while other, larger firms, which believed that they could secure contracts on their already established reputations, were not so favourably inclined. AMSTAC is aware of the activities of the Australian

Overseas Projects Corporation, which was designed to assist Australian participation in overseas contracts. It understands that problems with its operation, which are currently under review, are likely to be overcome by early next year.

4.24 AMSTAC also learned that much of the work being put to tender in Asia and the Pacific was being funded through the Asian Development Bank or the World Bank. There were problems in this for Australian firms because the method of selecting a short list for tendering purposes involves consideration of the proportion of funds supplied by the various contributors to these Banks. Supply of particular equipment is often also pre-allocated to

large contributors which means that tender specifications can be misleading. This was cited by some companies as more of a problem than lack of reputation or the ready availability of hydraulic facilities. However, the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC), which does 70% of its work overseas, considered that these problems could be largely overcome

by forming joint ventures or associations of some kind with established consulting firms in the client country.

4.25 AMSTAC understands that the Australian Professional Consultants Council* promotes Australian consulting services overseas by publishing a register of its members and details of the services they can provide. This register is distributed by the Trade Commissioner Service at overseas posts. Another source of assistance is Export Development Grants which can be sought by individual firms to meet the costs of preparing tenders for overseas projects. These avenues for support are helpful, but if, in addition,

* A private organisation sponsored by 10 Australian professional associations plus SMEC and the Australian Mineral Development Laboratories.


Australian laboratories were to co-ordinate the development and use of their marine hydraulic facilities, significant further assistance could be rendered to engineering firms in attracting overseas contracts.

5 Mechanisms

5.1 The Government has recognised that a strong technological capability is essential to industrial competitiveness and that there is a need to assist the transition from traditional manufacturing activities to high technology enterprises with potentially high growth rates. AMSTAC has also been conscious of these needs in its review of the marine technologies.

5.2 However, a technology policy is not developed in isolation, but must be integrated with science policy and industry policy, and these policies must be relevant to a government's economic and social goals. AMSTAC is aware that the complexities of the relationships between these policies are such that there will be no simple solution to the problems besetting any of the areas investigated. Any mechanisms that AMSTAC suggests are unlikely to

be useful in isolation but must be considered in the light of an overall complex strategy.

5.3 Because of the short time in which this investigation has been undertaken, AMSTAC has been able to make only an initial examination of the marine technologies in Australia. The Committee is also aware of other broader investigations, in particular the report provided recently to the

Government by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences (the Espie Report). In this preliminary investigation AMSTAC has found that the problems besetting the marine technologies are largely similar to those outlined in the Espie Report, that is:

• limited Australian market; • lack of venture capital; • difficulties in establishing a track record; and • lack of entrepreneurial skills.

Industry Concerns 5.4 In discussing barriers to further Australian involvement in particular areas, AMSTAC found, inter alia, that:

• some companies that were interviewed had criticisms of the operation of the Australian Industrial Research and Development Incentives Scheme (AIRDIS) although they welcomed its general thrust; • most companies interviewed had not yet heard of the Espie Report but

were interested in the idea of venture capital companies; • some companies interviewed had not heard of the Marine Sciences and Technologies (MST) Grants Scheme and, those which had, thought it was generally relevant only to academic research; • many companies interviewed did not know about the Australian Offsets

Program; and


• the majority of companies interviewed considered there were inad­ equate tax incentives for research and development.

5.5 The main source of concern about the operation of AIRDIS was smaller companies which complained that 'commencement' grants did not provide for progress payments. This leaves a company carrying the burden of payments for 12-18 months before the grant is received. By contrast, the 'project' grants do provide for progress payments, but smaller companies with less access to capital are generally not eligible for these.

5.6 Concern was also expressed by some companies about the effects of particular tariff and sales tax applications which, presumably unintentionally, discriminate against manufacture in Australia. For example, in some cases there are higher tariffs on components of manufactured goods than on finished products. Another criticism has been the discounting of Australian

raw materials as an export incentive while the price is fixed at a higher level in Australia. This gives the overseas manufacturer an advantage over the Australian manufacturer. AMSTAC believes that some attention should be paid to improving co-ordination in government regulations in this respect.

5.7 If development is to be encouraged, the following considerations should be taken into account:

• as much research as possible should be done in industry; • where research is done elsewhere, the transfer of technology into industry should take place as early as possible, — in particular, production and packaging (i.e. product design and

assembly) issues need to be considered as soon as the concept is proved; and • the best mechanism will be one which encourages those who have proved the concept, and those wishing to develop it, to take the initiative to co-operate to their mutual benefit, — that is, it must establish a climate in which change and develop­

ment are seen as desirable by researchers as well as by manufac­ turers.


M arine Sciences and Technologies Grants Scheme

5.8 The objectives of the MST Grants Scheme are such that its use in the marine technologies area is confined to the proving of concepts. Any progression beyond this stage into development of a product is not basic research and more properly belongs with AIRDIS. AMSTAC considers the current arrangement to be an effective division of interests and would consider it to be counter productive to move the emphasis of the MST Grants Scheme away from research. While technology developments do not

necessarily flow directly from basic scientific research, lack of such research would almost certainly diminish the amount of technological innovation.


Australian Industrial Research a n d D evelopm ent Incentives Schem e

5.9 AIRDIS has an important function in the development of new technologies and products. AMSTAC would like to see the recommendations of the Espie Report in relation to this Scheme adopted. That is, the Scheme should receive increasing budget allocations and its administration should be simplified. In particular, AMSTAC would like to see a review of the impact of AIRDIS procedures on small businesses involved with 'commencement' grants, with a view to shortening the time before payment of grant monies, thereby lightening the debt burden in a period crucial for growth.

Taxation a n d Tariff Policies

5.10 Taxation and tariff policies are not AMSTAC's area of expertise and, although they are inevitably linked to the overall strategy pursued by the Government in encouraging industrial development, AMSTAC considers that it is not sufficiently informed in this area to give detailed advice. AMSTAC believes, however, that regulations in these areas could be better co­ ordinated so that Australian manufacturers are not disadvantaged.

Australian Offsets Policy

5.11 AMSTAC understands that the Australian Offsets Policy is not limited to the purchase of goods but applies to all Government 'procurements', i.e. services are also included. However, in practice the policy generally applied only to the purchase of equipment, as it has not been considered practicable to require Australian content in the purchase of, for instance, overseas consulting services. AMSTAC considers that greater effort should be made to apply the policy to services. AMSTAC would also wish to see the private sector apply a similar principle to the purchase of overseas design and other services. There seems no reason why a steadily increasing amount of the work for Australian marine projects now being contracted to overseas firms should not remain in Australia and make use of Australian expertise.

Export Incentives

5.12 AMSTAC is satisfied that Export Development Grants are available for all the likely export products in the marine area, including the provision of overseas consulting services. However, other export incentives, such as discounting of raw materials for export purposes, should be carefully assessed for their impact on local manufacturers.

Defence!Industry Transfer o f Technology

5.13 AMSTAC appreciates that there is a reasonable degree of collaboration between the Department of Defence research establishments and the defence industries and that in the development of a product the Defence research establishments attempt to involve industry in the project as early as possible. However, the technology transfer involved still ends up only in defence products. The possible commercial applications of these technolo­ gies are not realised. This is largely because the quality requirements for defence products are generally far higher than those for commercial equipment and it is not practicable for the defence industries to reduce their production standards for this purpose.


5.14 The result is that commercial spin-offs from defence technology do not reach that sector of industry involved in producing commercial products. AMSTAC considers it to be important that a mechanism be developed that will allow industry in general better access to technological developments from Defence research establishments.


Espie Report Recom m endations

5.15 AMSTAC welcomes the Government's initiative in setting up the Management and Investment Companies Licensing Board and in allowing 100% tax deductions for investment in management and investment companies following the recommendations of the Espie Report. This will greatly assist development in some of the industries reviewed by AMSTAC.

Industry!Research Co-ordination

5.16 A general problem, extending beyond the marine field, is that industry and research institutions need to co-ordinate their activities better. University researchers cannot generally react easily to the short time scales which industry requires for the development of marketable products. If university research is to be readily accessed by industry, and universities are to be made aware of industry's research and development needs, mechanisms must be developed to facilitate personal interaction between university and industry staff, including staff exchanges or joint appointments wherever practicable. AMSTAC notes with interest that the Government has created a National Research Fellowship Scheme with fellowships allocated to support research in areas of national interest, to promote industry-based research and to strengthen research teams undertaking fundamental research. This Scheme could be a useful start in increasing the necessary university/ industry interaction.

5.17 AMSTAC believes that another useful mechanism would be for one or more universities in each major city, in partnership with experts from business and commerce, to establish a commercial company with the objective of providing patent information, advice on design and manufac­ ture, commercial assessment and marketing strategies for inventions and

innovations brought to it either by private inventors, university researchers or small firms. Some of the advice and assessment could be provided by academic staff in association with their graduate students who could take on various projects as part of their thesis requirements. The United States' experience is that this method of interfacing university staff and their students with potential new industries is very successful. The students who

become involved in the innovation/manufacturing/marketing problems for an invention often join the firm concerned on completion of their studies because of their commitment to the new technology concerned and their awareness of its commercial opportunities.

5.18 It is important to distinguish a firm such as this, which is primarily concerned with creating new and viable industries or specialised products, from a university 'consulting' firm which may be mainly involved in


patenting inventions on behalf of its own staff, or providing consultancy advice in relation to problems experienced by local firms. AM STAC notes with interest that a particular venture of this latter kind, the Western Australian Product Innovation Centre, has recently been established as a

non-profit company formed by the Confederation of Western Australian Industry, the Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments and the four tertiary institutions in Western Australia.

Packaging a n d M arketing Assistance

5.19 AMSTAC considers that practical assistance could be given to small companies which are still in the development stages of a project and which often have great difficulty getting over the vital hurdles of packaging (i.e. product design and assembly) their product and marketing it. Such firms also often have no concept of how to acquire packaging and marketing expertise. It is in these matters that they really require assistance. AMSTAC considers that the Government could supply this assistance, not necessarily in the form of grants but in the form of access to expertise. It has been suggested to AMSTAC that, if the Government could establish arrangements under which small teams of packaging and marketing consultants could be quickly marshalled and made available to companies at the appropriate stage in their operations, this would be more cost-effective and more useful than providing funding assistance.


5.20 AMSTAC would also like to see greater publicity given to the mechanisms available for the encouragement of technological development in Australia. Many small firms are not aware of the assistance they can get from government. More publicity should also be given to new technologies developed within government and other research establishments which may have commercial applications.

6 Conclusions and Recommendations

6.1 There are similar problems for technological development in the marine area as in other areas of Australian industry. The local marine market is small and there is a lack of venture capital and entrepreneurial skills. Companies find it difficult initially to establish credibility with potential clients, both Australian and overseas, and there seems to be a general concern about lack of taxation concessions or other incentives for research and development work.

6.2 AMSTAC's recommendations are as follows: 1 a review should be made of mechanisms designed to encourage the development of technology in industry — in particular with a view to improving co-ordination of policy

between government agencies and simplifying operational procedures;


2 consideration should be given to letting some government contracts for the development of computer software rather than only for the purchase of proven systems, and to encouraging private enterprise to sponsor computer software development; 3 consideration should be given to improving mechanisms for com­

mercial development of inventions made within government re­ search organisations and tertiary education institutions — in particular, consideration should be given to improving the mechanisms whereby Defence technologies can be transferred

to industry and research institutions for non-defence, commer­ cial development and manufacture; 4 Australian initiatives, whether from government or industrial re­ search, should be patented wherever possible and government

laboratories should accept as part of their national responsibilities that innovations which could benefit Australians are protected in some way and their potential commercial benefits realised; 5 the Department of Primary Industry should be asked to conduct a

study on the economics and marketing prospects for mariculture and an assessment should be made of potential culture sites and the species most suited to each; 6 the Department of Housing and Construction, in conjunction with the Department of Science and Technology, should be asked to investi­ gate the feasibility and effectiveness of the suggested mechanisms to co-ordinate the development and use of marine hydraulic facilities, and possibly to co-ordinate tendering for overseas coastal and ocean engineering projects; 7 consideration should be given to supplying assistance in the packaging and marketing of products in the form of access to expert consulting teams; 8 increased research should be conducted in the corrosion and biological fouling areas, preferably through a mechanism which enables the research to be conducted in industry; 9 seismic servicing companies should be encouraged to expand into servicing more seismic equipment, particularly towed arrays; 10 the Espie Report recommendations with respect to the AIRDI Scheme

should be implemented and a review should be made of the conditions applying to 'commencement' grants; 11 attention should be paid to the consistency and co-ordination of tariff and taxation regulations; 12 an effort should be made to apply the Offsets Policy to the

procurement of services as well as of goods; 13 a mechanism should be established to facilitate personal interaction between university and industry staff by personnel exchanges or joint appointments; 14 consideration should be given to facilitating the establishment, by a

group of universities in conjunction with experts from business and commerce, of a commercial company providing advice to inventors,


researchers and small businesses on patenting, design, manufacture and marketing strategies; and 15 greater publicity should be given to available assistance and to new technologies developed within government research establishments.

6.3 AMSTAC hopes that this preliminary assessment of some of the marine technologies will be useful in future exploration of ways of encouraging technology-based industries in Australia.

The towing tank at the Australian Maritime College in Launceston.

Details of the ship model equipment on the towing tank.


Photos courtesy of Australian Maritime College.


Technologies Relevant to Maritime Activities

Activities Relevant Technologies


(see also measuring and sensing equipment)

Mariculture fertilisation, nutrition,

harvesting, pond and cage systems — design and engineering

Fish Detection sonar

Fish Catching

Seafood Handling (prior to processing)

Seafood Processing

Biochemicals Production (including biotechnology)

gear design

gear and hold design, refrigeration

filleting, preserving, packaging

stock selection and genetic manipulation


(see also measuring and sensing equipment) Ocean Structures


Bulk Materials, Handling and Shipping

Structural Maintenance

Power Generation

Artificial Raising of Deep Water Nutrients

Iceberg Transport and Use

Exploration (including oil and gas and sea floor mineral sampling)

Exploitation (including oil and gas)

seismic, piling, hydrographic surveying, cathodic protection, paint and anti-fouling coatings, underwater welding, pipeline laying, submersibles

design and construction

slurry systems, single point mooring, loading and unloading

remote sensing, underwater welding, diving, remotely controlled vehicles

waves, tides, thermal exchange

tidal pumping, pipeline laying

towing, containment

drilling, coring, mineral sampling

oil and gas well-head and platform design and construction, dredging 41

Transportation (including oil and gas oil and gas pipeline laying,

pipelines and minerals bulk materials handling shipping)


Coastal Structures piling, paint and anti-fouling

coatings, cathodic protection

Waste Disposal release techniques, water

quality measurement and control, pipeline laying


Environmental Sensing

(including chemical and physical properties of water — water depth and seafloor

topography — detection of fish, vessels and other bodies in water — geophysical

investigation of the seabed — weather and climate forecasting)

Structural Soundness Monitoring

(including weld and vibration, acoustic, diving,

corrosion assessment) remotely controlled vehicles, remote sensing

Navigation radar, radio, satellite

position fixing


Data Acquisition and Analysis computer software, signal interpretation, data processing

Physical and Numerical hydraulic and computer

Modelling of the modelling, computer software

Environment and its Effects on Human Activities

chemical and physical analysis radar, laser, satellite sensing

sonar, laser


seismic, heat flow measurement


Control and Training Systems computer systems for navigation, traffic control, materials handling and industrial process control, computer software


Recreation and Leisure Products




This report of the AMSTAC Working Group on Coastal and Ocean Engineer­ ing was considered by AMSTAC at its December 1983 meeting. The Committee adopted the report in full and resolved to submit it to the Government as its advice on this subject. The summary and recommenda­ tions are reprinted below.

Summary and Recommendations


1 In the next decade and beyond, Australia will have an ever-increasing need to manage and develop its marine environment. To cope with this responsibility, Australia must raise the level of its technological capability in the areas of coastal and ocean engineering (C&OE) research and testing. Without such improvements, our ability to deal with the problems and opportunities presented by the marine area in Australia and overseas in the future will be severely diminished, and this will be against the nation's

interests in terms of effective expenditure, safety, technological progress and quality of life. (Refer paragraphs 3.1 to 3.3).

2 An essential requirement for the improved application of engineering skills in both the private and government sectors to the marine environment, is, as a matter of urgency, an increase in our hydraulic modelling capability in coastal and ocean engineering. One of the most important elements of our modelling capability is the physical facilities that are available for research, design and testing (Paragraphs 3.4 to 3.15).

3 Australia already possesses a modest number of small to medium-sized flumes and basins which are needed to meet regional demands, but in general these are inadequately equipped and instrumented. From a national point of view, they comprise an inadequate set of basic C&OE hydraulic laboratory facilities. Furthermore, there is a serious shortage of larger, more sophisticated facilities. It is essential that, as soon as possible, Australia upgrades its existing C&OE hydraulic facilities, and establishes a minimum set of more sophisticated facilities (Paragraphs 3.46 to 3.54).


4 While the principal regional deficiency is a lack of adequate, random- wave coastal engineering flumes, national deficiencies are much more severe and consist of:

— a properly equipped and staffed, large, three-dimensional, random- wave coastal engineering basin, — a reasonably available estuarine engineering basin, — a long, random-wave structural studies flume, — a wind/random-wave structural studies basin, — a wide, random-wave flume, — a second, properly equipped and staffed, large, three-dimensional,

random-wave coastal engineering basin, and — an oscillating water tunnel.

5 The establishment of a new national hydraulics laboratory has been considered. It would require capital funds of the order of $10 million, a new administrative structure, and most likely recurrent funding. In contrast, improving existing laboratories to a satisfactory standard (from both a national and a regional point of view) will only require $2.3 million for capital works and initial co-ordination funds, and will not involve the Federal Government in administrative arrangements or recurrent costs. However, the improvements proposed in this report allow for the possibility of developing one or more of the existing laboratories into a national centre, at a later date (Paragraphs 3.55 to 3.60 and 4.4 to 4.5).

6 To maximise the benefits of upgrading existing facilities, and particu­ larly in the absence of a national laboratory, it is important to improve co-ordination between the laboratories, both in their development and usage. To this end, a co-operative organisational structure, with each laboratory and user group being represented, is proposed (Paragraphs 3.66 to 3.76 and 4.10 to 4.12).

7 This report gives an assessment of the Australia-wide need for hydraulic facilities for physically modelling the interaction of C&OE developments with the marine environment. To ensure that implementation of its recommenda­ tions will maximise the benefit that Australia can obtain from a reasonably complete network of facilities, this report includes consideration of some

matters that are not the direct responsibility of the Federal Government. However, the recommendations for expenditure are restricted to improve­ ments considered to be clearly a Federal responsibility (Paragraphs 3.77 to 3.81).

8 The recommendations are such that, having made once-off capital grants for hydraulic laboratory facilities and for establishing co-ordination arrangements between C&OE hydraulic laboratories, all recurrent costs of operating the facilities and continuing co-ordination will be borne by the

laboratories themselves (Paragraphs 3.82 to 3.85).

9 The hydraulic laboratory facilities recommended constitute an inte­ grated package, each element of which is needed to provide an effective national C&OE hydraulic modelling capability. The whole package should


therefore be funded and not just a part of it. It is important that funds are provided in the 1984/85 Budget, both because of the need to raise our C&OE capability immediately and because the most expensive facility is part- funded from non-Federal sources that may be lost if there is a delay (Paragraphs 4.13 to 4.15).


10 It is recommended that the Federal Government: R1 commit itself to upgrading Australia's coastal and ocean engineering (C&OE) capability by building on existing, regional facilities and expertise so as to provide a minimum network of C&OE hydraulic

laboratory facilities to meet Australia's basic national needs;

R2 agree to provide, as a package, the capital costs of both building and equipping the following facilities:

Funding Facility 1983 Cost

Urgency ($'000)

Very Urgent

Complete the funding of a new, wind/random-wave 700

structural studies basin at Monash University

Upgrade coastal engineering basin at University 300

of NSW to random-wave capability

Establish a new estuarine engineering basin at the 350

NSW Department of Public Works


Extend random-wave structural studies flume at 180

Monash University and upgrade to random-wave capability

Upgrade coastal engineering basin at the University 350

of Queensland to random-wave capability and enclose it

Establish a new, oscillating water tunnel at the 200

Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, Cooma

TOTAL $2 080

R3 in providing funds for these facilities,

.1 require recurrent costs to be met by the recipient laboratories, as has already been informally agreed with them;


.2 require, as has already been informally agreed with each labora­ tory, that the Federally funded facility be accessible by all sectors of the C&OE community, both within and outside the laboratory, and encourage the laboratories to make their other hydraulic facilities similarly accessible;

.3 require the laboratories to participate in the co-ordination arrange­ ments recommended below;

.4 encourage those laboratories not in tertiary education institutions to affiliate at a regional level with one;

R4 ask the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC), as a matter of very high priority, to take the initiative already discussed with it in bringing those laboratories with an interest in C&OE together to establish a formally constituted, wholly independent,

umbrella organisation, for which SMEC, or some other duly elected body, would provide the permanent secretariat (account would need to be taken of the existing extent of co-operation arising from the initiatives already taken by the NSW, Queensland and Victorian

Governments' laboratories); and

R5 provide the initial co-ordinating agency (SMEC) with a grant of $200 000 to cover the costs of establishment and of the first two years' operation of the umbrella organisation.

11 With these improvements promptly implemented, Australia will experi­ ence the benefits indicated in paragraphs 3.11 to 3.15 together with increased industry/university/government interaction and an immediate ability to compete in the Asian market where the current annual value of C&OE modelling studies commissioned is at least $10 million.




Letter to Minister for Science and Technology — 19 December 1983

Recently AMSTAC arranged to be briefed by a panel of fisheries experts as part of its policy of keeping itself informed about different aspects of marine science and technology in Australia. The briefing covered fisheries research and management, gear and food technology and aquaculture prospects and problems. A list of the speakers and their topics is attached.

The panel gave a set of expert presentations and AMSTAC takes this opportunity to highlight three of the many important matters touched upon:

a There is, apparently, heavy fishing pressure being exerted on many of Australia's fisheries resources. The high exploitation rates generated by this fishing pressure have the potential to reduce the breeding stocks to a low level and there is considerable concern being expressed about the

long-term stability of recruitment levels.

AMSTAC was informed that there was a need to increase research on stock/recruitment relationships for many of the fisheries around Australia.

b In a number of fisheries operators are faced with economic difficulties resulting from a cost-price squeeze. It is apparent that there will be an increasing need for economic research to be undertaken and the results made available to both industry and government,

c Mariculture is a popular subject for discussion at present and is likely to increase in importance in future years. Progress in mariculture will depend upon a variety of factors including biology, technology, environ­ mental science and economics. It is understood that there is potential for development of mariculture in Australia but it is essential that due attention be given to each of the factors involved.

You might wish to refer these impressions to your colleague the Minister for Primary Industry for his information and for possible discussion by the Australian Fisheries Council.

Yours sincerely

J M Swan



Dr D Hancock, WA Department of Fisheries and Wildlife — Assessment of Stocks,

Dr C Grant, Department of Primary industry — Australian Domestic Stocks and their Management,

M r D Campbell, Bureau of Agricultural Economics — Fisheries Economics,

M r A Byrne, Department of Primary Industry — Australian Foreign Fishing Policies,

M r F Chopin, Australian Maritime College — Fishing Technology in Australia and Overseas,

Dr T Dix, Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority — Mariculture Techniques and their Potential for Australia,

Ms J Ruello - Fish Processing in Australia.




Letter to Minister for Science and Technology — 29 August 1983

I am writing to report on the outcome of the recent AMSTAC Colloquium on the Significance of the Southern Oscillation — El Nino Phenomena and the Need for a Comprehensive Ocean Monitoring System in Australasia, which you formally closed on Thursday 28 July.

As I explained to you at the closing session, the Colloquium was extremely interesting and informative and from it we have drawn the following conclusions.


The El Nino — Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomena are a significant feature of the variability of the global atmosphere ocean system with particular manifestations in the Australian region including a linkage to droughts in eastern Australia. The broad features of its temporal and spatial variability in the atmosphere are reasonably well documented and monitor­ ed, but its oceanic features are less well observed. The physical mechanisms of ENSO are partly understood but, even though it can be clearly linked to the occurrence of nationally significant climatic extremes of drought or flood, there is as yet no proven way, either on the basis of physical understanding or statistical/empirical relations, of making use of its potential predictive capability for Australia.

Furthermore, the ENSO phenomena must, in the end, be regarded as merely part of the total non-linear, atmosphere-ocean climate systems whose monitoring and predictability are currently the focus of an internation­ al research effort within the context of the World Climate Research Program.

Accordingly, an Australian approach to ocean monitoring in support of the study of ENSO phenomena, which could eventually lead to predictive use, should have the following objectives:

a support for the gradual implementation of a long-term ocean­ monitoring network in the Australasian region in the context of the IOC/WMO Integrated Global Ocean Services System (IGOSS).

Particular emphasis should be placed on those parameters needed to complement information available under the World Weather Watch. The objective would be a gradual implement­ ation of a skeleton network of devices or technologies for the measurement of • sea temperature with depth (XBTs, buoys, satellite sensing) • mean sea levels (tide gauges) • ocean currents (buoys, tide gauges, current meters);


b specific participation in internationally co-ordinated research studies such as WESTPAC and the WCRP-TOGA experiments in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, through international programs, in a way that is consistent with the achievement of objective (a) in the long term; and

c support (via MST or similar research funding arrangements) for specific institutional or individual research projects that seek to test or elucidate some particular theories on, or features of, the ENSO phenomena relevant to the Australian region. This could include, for example, specific short-period funding of observations to test particu­

lar hypotheses on aspects of the ENSO phenomena. Such projects should fit into the framework of objectives (a) and (b).

Future Action AMSTAC will give further consideration to these conclusions in the next few months both in the light of the recent Budget and of New Policy Proposals developed for the 1984/85 Budget.

A record of the proceedings of the Colloquium is currently being prepared. I will forward a copy to you as soon as it becomes available.

Yours sincerely

J M Swan




I am writing to obtain your agreement to the establishment of an Interim Steering Committee for the bringing into service of the CSIRO Oceano­ graphic Research Vessel (ORV), which is currently being built and which will eventually be run as a National Research Facility.

As you know, AMSTAC and ASTEC are currently preparing reports on National Research Facilities. Both reports bear on the operation of the ORV, and indeed, AMSTAC's report is solely about this. However, although both bodies hope to finalise their reports in the near future, it is possible that a Government decision on the long-term arrange­

ments for operating the ORV could be delayed for some time, either because of the formal procedures required for handling ASTEC reports or because of the possibility of unresolved differences of view. ASTEC, AMSTAC and the CSIRO have therefore agreed that it would be prudent if an Interim Steering Committee with five members were to be appointed by you on the basis of a list of names developed by AMSTAC after consultation with CSIRO. This committee would get planning under way immediately within the broad guidelines being developed by ASTEC, and hand over to the permanent committee as soon as it was established.

If you are agreeable in principle to this course of action I will arrange for the preparation of a detailed proposal defining terms of reference and providing a list of possible names.

Yours sincerely

J M Swan

Final advice on this matter was developed through an exchange of letters including confidential correspondence on suitable candidates for Committee membership. The final proposal is summarised as follows:


An independent chairman selected from outside CSIRO; two members from CSIRO nominated by CSIRO; two members from the community of Australian oceanographers.

Terms of Reference

Until such time as a permanent Steering Committee is appointed, advise CSIRO on the bringing into service, and if necessary the continued operation, of the ORV with particular reference to the following issues:

• operation and staffing, in-house or by contract;


establishment of liaison with user groups and QFMRAAC;

scheduling of first year's operation;

initial establishment and composition of a small user sub-committee to oversee cruise scheduling;

assessment of likely standing and running costs;

preparation of broad guidelines for financial management;

preparation of broad guidelines for operation and use.




Meeting 1/83 3-5 March 1983 Hobart

2/83 14, 15 April 1983 Canberra

3/83 2, 3 June 1983 Canberra

4/83 28, 29 July 1983 Canberra

5/83 3-6 September 1983 Townsville

6/83 27, 28 October 1983 Canberra

7/83 1, 2 December 1983 Canberra




A M STAC Seminar On Marine Research In Tasmania 3 March 1983 Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority, Hobart Speakers

Mr A J Harrison Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority

Dr S W Jeffrey CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research

Dr D A Ritz Zoology Department University of Tasmania

Mr D Rounsevell Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service

Mr A P Andrews Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Mr J Stevens Tasmanian Industry Association for Environmental Control







Pollution Control

Mr B 0 Healey Pollution Control

Tasmanian Department of Environment Dr A D McEwan Oceanography

CSIRO Division of Oceanography

Dr P G Quilty Antarctic Marine

Antarctic Division Department of Science and Technology Dr D Powell Antarctic Marine

Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources

Mr P McGovern Maritime

Australian Maritime College


Marine Resources Policy Dr B W Davis) Dr R A Herr) Political Science Department University of Tasmania

A M STAC Colloquium On The Significance Of The Southern Oscillation — El Nino Phenomena And The Need For A Comprehensive Ocean Monitoring System In Australasia 27,28 July 1983 Benjamin Conference Centre, Canberra

Dr D Karoly A global picture of the

Department of Mathematics 'southern oscillation'

Monash University

Dr J S Godfrey CSIRO Division of Oceanography

Dr N Nicholls Australian Numerical Meteorology Research Centre

Dr D Tranter CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research

Mr P Noar Bureau of Meteorology

Dr J R Donguy ORSTOM, New Caledonia

Professor G W Lennon Flinders Institute for Atmospheric & Marine Science

Dr G Meyers Scripps Institute of Oceanography La Jolla, USA

Dr A B Pittock CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research

Dr A Malcolm Gill CSIRO Division of Plant Industry

Review of ideas of the physical mechanism of the southern oscillation involving the oceans

The relevance of the southern oscillation to the Australasian- Indonesian region

The marine biological impact of El Nino- southern oscillation

The Bureau of Meteorology system for monitoring marine data

The ORSTOM ocean monitoring network

Long term monitoring of sea-levels in relation to ocean climate studies

Monitoring networks to study the southern oscillation 1984-1994

Reality, stability and usefulness of Southern Hemisphere teleconnections

Drought and Australian bushfires


Dr Mike Goughian Bureau of Meteorology

Dr B Scott Bureau of Agricultural Economics

Dr G L Kesteven Transrubicon Pty Ltd

Dr Derek Staples CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research

The Australian drought and the southern oscillation

Drought and the Australian primary industries — some economic observations

El Nino and the Peruvian economy

Gulf of Carpentaria prawns and rainfall

A M STAC Fisheries Seminar 27 October 7983 Benjamin Conference Centre, Canberra Dr D Hancock Assessment of stocks

WA Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

Dr C Grant Department of Primary Industry

Mr D Campbell Bureau of Agricultural Economimcs

Mr A Byrne Department of Primary Industry

Mr F Chopin Australian Maritime College

Dr T Dix Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority

Ms J Ruello

Australian domestic stocks and their management

Fisheries economics

Australian foreign fishing policies

Fishing technology in Australia and overseas

Mariculture techniques and their potential for Australia

Fish processing in Australia




Coastal and Ocean Engineering

Convenor Mr R J Smith

Members Associate Professor J B Hinwood Department of Mechanical Engineering, Monash University

Dr P Riedel, Riedel and Byrne, Consulting Engineers

Mr F L Wilkinson, Chief Engineer, Maritime Works, Department of Housing and Construction.

Terms of Reference

To advise AMSTAC on national needs and priorities in relation to the development of facilities for coastal and ocean engineering. This group was established on 16 November 1981 and reported to AMSTAC in November 1983.

Marine Applications of Satellite Sensing

Convenor Dr J W Zillman

Members Dr F R Honey, CSIRO Division of Land Resources Management

Dr D Carpenter, ANU Faculty of Engineering Physics

Mr B V Hamon, retired (formerly of the CSIRO Division of Fisheries and Oceanography)

Dr C S Nilsson, CSIRO Division of Oceanography.

Terms of Reference

To advise AMSTAC on applications of satellite sensing to the marine sciences and technologies and on priorities in terms of user requirements and facilities to receive, process, archive and distribute satellite data. The group will be concerned with both:

a use of satellite data for research into marine problems; and

b research into the use of satellite data in marine applications.

The group was established on 14 September 1982.